Sunday, July 31, 2011


Well Janice forgot to mention that the day yesterday was spent canning carrots. after eating several (a lot) meals and singles, Janice went out yesterday and pulled the rest of the ripe carrots, got a full five gallon bucket. We spent the day scrubbing, trimming, and slicing (food processors are nice) the carrots. Then on to filling jars and canning.

We didn't use salt so that the carrots could be used in other dishes without the worry of too much salt. Just cover with boiling water in the jars, place on lids and rings, and cold pack for twenty five minutes, couldn't have been easier. We ended up with fifteen pint jars after one broke. These will be a tasty addition to our winter's food supply.

Day of Rest

Well after a week of Harvesting and canning. I decided today no work. Last night before I went to bed I put some ribs in a vaccum seal canaster with some BBQ rub. Today at about 1:00ish, my husband and I put the ribs in the smoker.
As you can see they turned out wonderful. We also went out to the garden and picked some leaf lettuce, swiss chard, turnips and cucumber. Along with the iceburg lettuce I had harvested eariler in the week, I put together a salad.
What a great dinner and the cost was only $3.21 per person, with ribs for another supper. Now you can't beat that.

Friday, July 29, 2011


Got all those vege's canned up today.

Sure was a lot of work, but well worth it. I hope the pickles turn out as good as they look.


Well the harvest from the gardens continue to be good, The Lord continues to bless us. Janice has been able to can 3 pints and 6 half pints of shelled peas so far this year.

We ate all (a lot) of the sugar peas, many carrots, all the radishes (two types red & white), a lot of lettuce, some cucumbers, Swiss Chard, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Turnips, and Bell peppers.
In the above picture are; Carrots, Grape leaves, Cauliflower, Jalapeno and Bell Peppers, Dill, and Cucumbers. Can you say PICKLES!!! 

Janice boiled off two dozen Eggs to pickle along with Bell peppers, Cauliflower, Jalapeno peppers, Carrots, Cucumbers, Garlic, Onion, Dill, and Grape leaves for crispness.

Janice also picked some Rutabagas for us to eat and gave the neighbor some Lettuce, Swiss Chard, Rutabagas, and some Carrots.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


I harvested some of my cucumbers today and boy where the needing to be picked. As you can see from the pictures they are hugh. I hope I didn't let them get to big. Going to try to make some Bread and Butter pickles out of them as my Dill hasn't developed enough yet to use for dills.

Sunday, July 24, 2011


Being a gardener I enjoy new plants, or at least new to me. When I go shopping, I always have to check out the new plants in the garden section,
As I really enjoy my home grown peppermint plant for tea, I happened upon a couple of new mints .
I found an Apple mint (above) and a Banana mint (below).
I couldn't resist, I had to get them. So I brought them home and planted them.
Today I got my first cutting off of them and have them in the dehydrator now drying as I type.
I can hardly wait to try them out. They sure smell wonderful while they are drying.
I also found a Lemon Balm, which I know is a good herbal plant, but not sure how to use it yet. I will need to do some research in my herbal books. I do know that it makes a good additive to potpourri. I really like the lemon scent, it is very refreshing.

Start Early

For my first post I want to say that you need to start early in the year in order to produce good amounts of quality foods. Also don't forget other things such as milk, cheese, and eggs.

Saturday, July 23, 2011


Well I finally got some pics of the spinning wheel and loom, cool! Janice and I took a spinning class about one week ago, it was fun, but I need lots of practice. OK these are not even close to being new but they are new to us.

The pic below is the spinning wheel and lazy Kate. These were made by "Country Craftsman", the second owner, soon after his purchase of the business in 1991.

The loom came with the last owners practice piece still on the loom. It needs a good cleaning and have our own project put in place. The loom is a LeClerc Nilus.

More to come on these subjects later.


Well I have been needing to update the blog for a while now.

Things are growing well because of my lovely wife, certainly not because of me.
The potatoes and corn in the yard are starting to grow well, the corn in the greenhouse is starting to put on ears.
The Red Currents are really loaded this year.
I had mentioned on Common Sense Homesteading that we use livestock panels for trellis'. See below for an example using one for Cucumbers, and another being used for shelling peas.

These panels also make great plant cages. you will need to improvise a bender, I put mine on my welding table, see pic.
There is a heavy piece of bar steel to hold down the panels, then there is an angle iron piece, which pivots in order to bend the panel.
The angle iron in my case should have been heavier than what I used and the handle could have been longer. I am also sure something could be improvised out of wood and old door hinges.

These tomato cages work great, anchor well, unlike the commercial ones sold for high dollars.

Cucumbers and Peppers in greenhouse doing very well. I only have a pic of a Pablano Pepper, we also have Bells, and Jalapeno. The Cucumber is a very long variety, I forget which one.

As you can see from some of these pics we have way too much Digitalis (Foxglove). OK I forgot to re size the other pics of the Foxglove, so I'll put the Native Tiger Lilly, and the native Columbines,

During the spring we have scads of native Rhododendrons, way too many as they are poisonous to livestock as are Foxglove.
Well I think that's it for now, will try to get some pics of the spinning wheel and loom on later.

Monday, July 18, 2011


Well while my lovely wife was in Washington, yours truly broke his hand. Thus not doing a lot around here for me. Janice on the other hand, has been working her tail off. she made a cottage cheese salad with ripe Mango, Pineapple chunks, and home made Cottage Cheese. Can you say YUMMY.
Anyway we took a spinning class through Wild Rivers Wool Factory, great class. In the morning we covered the hand drop spindle, and spinning on a wheel in the afternoon. They hold these classes every month, I advise taking the class.
We are buying a loom tomorrow, this should be fun. I have always wanted to learn to weave, now's my chance, well at least when my hand heals. I know I will be able to make some hand spindles as well, should be fun. It totally amazes me that the sails on Christopher Columbus's ships were woven with threads, that were spun on hand spindles, UNREAL. This is really bad, I can't even take pics very easily. I know, I should dial one eight hundred Wahhhhh!

Friday, July 15, 2011


In the last week I got 4 batches of cheese made. All 5 gallon batches. One of Chevre and Colby.

The next Chevre and Gouda, then Chevre and Monteray Jack and the last Chevre and Havarti. The Havarti is suppose to age and I am not sure it will turn out since we don't have a cheese cave as of yet. The temperature is an important part in aging and I have to keep it in the refrigerator and it is cooler in there than in the cave. Hope it turns out. I made several batches of Chevre so I can use some of it in place of cream cheese. Think I will try to make a cheese cake with it.


Got the fleece all washed and dried and now starting to card it. Not hard to do but time consuming. I try to do it in the evening while watching TV. It can be very relaxing. I think I am going to enjoy the spinning class coming up on Saturday. Really looking forward to it.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Time to Clean Carter's Fleece

How to Wash Your Fleece

Note; When washing your fleece, only wash small amounts, not more than about 2-3 pounds at a time.

Using a Washing Machine
1. Fill the washer with very hot water. Add liquid detergent about a cup. Turn off the washer. Gently put your fleece in the washer tub. Close the lid and let the fleece soak for about 45 minutes.

2. Next, turn washer to the end of the SPIN cycle. Spin the water out of fleece. Lift the fleece out and set it aside.

3. Fill the washer tub with very hot water again. Put the fleece back in and let soak for about 30 minutes.

4. Turn washer to the end of the SPIN cycle. Spin the water out of the fleece. At this point, sort out the fleece that is clean enough to dry. If fleece is especially fine or dirty, you may need to repeat the wash and spin steps a few more times. Mohair often needs multiple washes as does merino, rambouillet and sometimes other finer wools.
The minimum soak time for wool is 15 minutes.
Use hot water with about one-half cup of white vinegar and soak fleece 30 minutes for the last rinse, then spin it out.

Spread the fleece to air dry on a towel or drying rack.

Using a Bath Tub or Other Large Container
Using very hot water and the same amount of detergent as above, follow pretty much the same steps as for the washer method. Do not allow running water to run directly on the fleece.

A nylon mesh laundry bag can be used to help contain the fleece for lifting but the more open the fleece can be in the water, the cleaner you can get it in fewer wash and rinse sequences.

Any liquid detergent, without bleach should work fine. However, avoid using products with conditioners, because they can leave a filmy residue on fiber which will impede the carding process.

To prevent the fleece from felting, avoid the urge to knead the fleece or handle it excessively when it is in the water. Also between rinses be sure to fill the next tub of water at the same water temperature you are taking the fleece from.

Gently squeeze out the water from the fleece and spread it to air dry on a towel or drying rack.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Day Three of this Baching it Thing

Did the chores and got 11 3/4 pounds of milk from two goats this morning. came in and finished the cheese I was making yesterday, looks very good. I did refrain from eating any. any way took care of the  pheasants, little ducks and chickens, then washed all of the dirty utensils. Took a break and had some coffee and Rhubarb Coffee Cake, Yummy.
Went out and watered the greenhouse, while there pulled enough carrots for a good size meal, along with some beets and a handful of sugar peas, the peas won't last till Janice gets home.
Couldn't see the adult ducks this am, I believe them to be down at the pond, as I can't see a lot of feathers like a critter got them. Well need to practice the guitar (just learning) if I want to make progress.

Well it's for sure I went looking for the ducks and only found one frightened adult duck and two piles of feathers, Something got one of our ducks. I am going to try to trap or other wise rid our happy home of this havoc producer.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Day Two

Well day two of the bachelor thing. It's a nice sunny day and the birds are flying and I'm sure chirping although I can't hear them most of the time. Think I'll make more cheese today.

Well milking is done, got another ten and a quarter pounds this am. I currently have five gallons of milk warming on the stove, four for Gouda, and one for Chevre'. I have a good start on the day. Pictures to follow.

Currently have two wheels of Gouda in the presses and another gallon of Chevre' making that will be ready by morning, pretty good.